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Natural Heritage Project 2005 – 2007

Over the two years of the project many hours have been spent using the equipment provided to gain further information about the species which live on the park. From planned visits by schools and uniformed groups such as Beavers and Guides to organised trapping sessions of birds, mammals and moths, bat walks, fungi
forays and wildflower surveys, all species are recorded.

Casual records are also important. Recently the Harlequin Ladybird was found by a volunteer cutting back overhanging trees and during 2006 a chance sighting of an unfamiliar dragonfly proved, the following day, to be a Black Darter. The Harlequin Ladybird was an inevitable record as the species is spreading throughout the country but the Black Darter was out of its normal range. Although, in saying this, during 2006 many migrant species of moth and some dragonflies were recorded around the country.

Specific recording sessions have provided some highlights for the participants. During a Bug Hunt, school pupils found a larva which turned out to be a Ruby Tiger Moth caterpillar – a new species for the Park at that time. The following week a different school on a Bug Hunt in the same place found the adult moth, and a moth trapping session had to be abandoned at 0100 hrs one morning due to the fact that the traps in use were swamped by an estimated 1000 Crane-flies, filling the traps to the point that nothing else could enter.

Mammal trapping also gave a surprising result, but one that can probably be explained by the weather. Of the four species captured, three showed average numbers, whereas the fourth, Common Shrew, provided only one capture. It is thought that heavy and continuous rain soaks these animals and reduces the amount of invertebrates upon which they feed. A combination of chilling and reduced food availability would lead to a reduction in numbers.

Overall, the organised activities spanned 916 hours of participants time, provided details of 139 species and added greatly to the data already held at the park, the Nottinghamshire Geological and Biological Records Centre, the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust and the Nottinghamshire Biodiversity Action Group. Enquiries have also been received regarding the continuation of the activities and more sessions are planned in the future.

Finally, thanks must go to all the people who participated in the various activities and, hopefully, enjoyed them, and to the people who were out of bed at ungodly times, day and night, to lead them.

Species lists